Over the past few Sundays at Windwood Church, the senior pastor, Rev. Kevin Rudolph, has been preaching a Fall Sermon Series, titled, “Solid Ground,” which speaks to us of the importance of living Christ-centered lives as it relates to who we are in the Body of Christ. How we are called to live together as a family of believers, a community of Christ-followers, is central to how we understand the way that God defines us.
There are many places in God’s Word to us, where we are referred to as community – family – the Body of Christ. As we consider the ways that God identifies His children – who He says we are – it’s important that we take note of God’s way of identifying us – and discard the ways that the world chooses to define who we are. The reason for this is simple – The world will tell us all that is wrong with us!
The message of the “Solid Ground” series is a basic concept of what our ministry seeks to help our clientele come to realize – that allowing the world to dictate to us who we are is fraught with potential negative results and even emotional brokenness, as it can impact our sense of self-worth and self-love – which is VERY essential to how we are able to love others.
In his book, Victory Over the Darkness, Christian author, Neil Anderson speaks of the danger of losing our perspective on who God says we are – who He created us to be. Anderson’s message speaks of the ways that the criticisms that all of us hear, as we mature from early childhood into adulthood, can have significant negative effects on how we see ourselves and how we then interact with the world around us.
The struggle for many of us is seen in the conflict between who God says we are and what the world – the “darkness” of the evil all around us – seeks to tell us about who we are. If we buy into the world’s definition of who we are, ignoring the affirmations of our identity in Christ given to us in His Word to us in the Bible, we often do it often at our own peril.
In our work with the people who come to our ministry, we have seen the sad results of what can happen to God’s people, after spending a number of years allowing the world to define us. To assist in counteracting this, we often use a tool we call the “My Identity in Christ” exercise. Though the exercise is taken from Anderson’s book, it is only the compilation of affirmations taken from the Word of God to us, as He defines who we are, according to His perspectve of His creations made in His image.
Generally, as we introduce this exercise to a client, we will ask them to relax, take a deep breath and close their eyes as we read the list of affirmations to them. Once completed, the client often indicates that they recognized much of the list as coming from the Bible. Often, they are surprised when we inform them that the entire list of affirmations is from the Bible!
The take-away assignment of this exercise involves reciting the list to themselves daily, as they look themselves in the mirror. It is written in first-person, so it comes out sounding like, “I am God’s child,” “I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins,” and so on. These 34 affirmations are to be read aloud, with the goal of moving any recognition of them from merely a “head-knowledge” to a “heart-knowledge” of who God says they are. Head-to-heart is a distance of about eighteen inches for most people – and yet it is eithteen inches that can make all the difference in the world.
Most report that the exercise of these affirmations makes a profound impact on their “sense of self” as it relates to how they eventually value themselves and are able to confidently and joyfuly deal with others and deal with even challenging circumstances. The bottom line here is that, when we truly “get” that we are valuable, precious, treasured, loved, blessed and worthy of love – because of God’s love and grace – the world actually does look different. It seems somehow safer and more gentle. The once imagined need to defend and protect – hide and shield who we are from even those who love us, is no longer necessary. What a freeing and joyful feeling that is!
Our hope and prayer for you is that you know – not just as “head-knowledge,” but also as “heart-knowledge” – who God says you are, and that you are free to experience all the love, peace and joy God has for you – in this life, and for all eternity!
Blessings and Joy,